Tuesday, September 28, 2010

mini Moko

Wedding invitations are essential to a wedding, and we came across ‘mini Moko’ and fell in love with their designs and stationery.

Mini Moko designs wedding, baby and event stationery that can be personalised to your individual requirements, with lots of colours to choose from to suit the colours of your event. They also offer a completely custom service if you have a special design in mind to suit your theme.
(Of course, with their extensive collection, it is a perfect option for your engagement as well).

We at Karen Willis Holmes especially love their ‘Cherry Blossom’ design (one of Karen’s personal favourites)!

They have just designed some new stationery and we LOVE the ‘Candy Stripe’ in’ Mellow Yellow’. It just screams of the beautiful sunshine filled days we are going to have all summer long. The different variations on each card is simply stunning and carries the theme throughout perfectly.

The mini Moko blog is full of gorgeous stationery ideas, fab finds and different industry recommendations. We are sure you will find something you love and spend lots of time on it (like we did!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Liz and Shaun...

Friday the 2nd of July marked the day that Liz Chang would become Liz Yow, and Shaun would make Liz his wife. 

The beautiful setting for the wedding was The Tearoom at Gunners Barracks for the reception, with the ceremony taking place in the courtyard. Liz said it was the view that absolutely sold them on the venue, along with the recommendation from Karen, who had attended a function at the venue before.

Karen and Geoff arrive for the wedding

When Liz’s Dad walked her down the aisle, he felt the emotions of the situation and began to cry, which in turn set Liz off, and a number of other people. Fortunately the celebrant, Christine, was prepared with tissues for a quick fix of make up and to clean up the wet cheeks.

Working for Karen and seeing the exceptional gowns and craftsmanship involved in each of her designs was reason enough for Liz to decide to wear a Karen Willis Holmes gown on her wedding day.

After trying on a selection of the ready-to-wear collection, Liz ruled it down to two gowns, and engaged in the opinion of her mother, sister and two best friends, along with Karen to confirm that ‘the one’ was the ‘Gemma’. Karen then customized it to a couture gown especially for Liz, incorporating some delicate lace along the bust-line and throughout the bodice, adding pretty cap sleeves, and taking into account her petite frame.

The magical feeling of wearing a wedding dress was not lost on Liz, even though she is exposed to these gowns every day. ‘It made me feel sophisticated and graceful’. Not only did Liz feel beautiful but she also looked amazing and felt comfortable all day!

Liz’s veil was a Karen Willis Holmes glimmer tulle veil, with a pearl and diamante comb in her hair to attach the veil.

While Liz only wore drop, pearl earrings on the day, her mother-in-law gave her a beautiful diamond necklace as a gift during the reception, which she proceeded to wear for the remainder of the night.

Shaun wore a suit, belt and tie all from Prada, His shirt was from Valentino, as the Prada shirt did not fit him as well – otherwise he would have been in Prada from head-to-toe!

Liz and Shaun’s bridal party consisted of four bridesmaids and four groomsmen. All friends with one another (even another engaged couple in there), ensured that the group had a fabulous time together enjoying all the festivities of the day and the lead up to it all.

Liz made use of a print she had designed herself for her own collection for her fashion label. Using this print as the basis for her day, the result was purple as the main colour theme, along with ivory and a beautiful warm red.

Each bridesmaids was allowed to choose their own dress, just so long as it was purple, creating beautiful contrast that carried beautifully, especially with the purple palette used in the flowers. Liz also had purple silk flowers made, based on her print, for each of the bridesmaids to wear in their hair.

The groomsmen also wore black suits with white shirts, and beautiful purple ties from Armani that Shaun gave to them as thank-you presents.

Shaun’s mum also chose purple attire for the colour theme of the wedding, which Liz said “was very thoughtful and so lovely”.

Another special outfit for the day was that of Liz’s mum, who wore a beautiful Korean costume, which is tradition for the mother of the bride to wear in Korean culture. Not to be outdone, Liz’s dad matched his suit with a fantastic black hat and Christian Lacroix tie which Liz chose for him.

Something extra special about Shaun and Liz’s wedding was that they chose to incorporate their heritage, by including a traditional Korean ceremony and Malaysian tea ceremony before the reception. This involved them dressing in traditional Korean costumes, which are stunningly beautiful with their amazing shapes and colour.

Liz said that the guests loved being able to see the ceremony and experience firsthand the contrast in the ceremonies.

Liz said, “My favourite part of it was when our parents threw dates and chestnuts at us (that represent sons and daughters) and we were supposed to catch some with part of my costume. Shaun, not realising what they meant, thought he was meant to catch all of them! Based on that we are supposed to have something like 14 children!”

Liz made use of her artistic skills and designed all the stationary for the event – invitations, table charts and menus based on the print from her own designs. As Liz said ‘I spent lots of time on Photoshop!’, but in the end it was worth it, as it offered a beautiful personal touch.

Keeping with the personalised elements, the MC for the event was Shaun’s ex-flatmate, who he had lived with in various apartments over the past four years. Thrilled with the intimacy of his close friendship with the couple, Liz said ‘he was fantastic, he had everyone laughing’.

The florist employed for the event was Ria floral. Liz simply couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to have Ria do the flowers, as the Karen Willis Holmes store in Paddington is lucky enough to have their floral arrangements completed by Ria each week and they are nothing short of amazing each time. Liz simply gave Ria the print she had used as the inspiration and let Ria take charge, and without a shadow of doubt Liz knew her flowers would be perfect on the day – which they were. 

The music for the day involved a brass quartet made up of some of Shaun’s brass band members during the ceremony. Then for the reception they had an iPod with a list of suggestions for songs that the guests requested. This ensured the dance floor remained full all night.

One very special dance was the first dance between the couple as husband and wife. Liz and Shaun had three or four lessons, even though Shaun was in Melbourne for work in the leadup to the wedding. They kept it simple and traditional and in Liz’s words, chose a ‘lovey dovey’ song in the form of ‘Feels like Home’ by Chantal Kreviazuk.

The team at Gingerbread Folk made the bonbonnieres in the form of little gingerbread boys and girls, which doubled as the place card settings, each with the guest’s name on it. 

Instead of going for a traditional, white-iced cake, the couple decided to have a completely chocolate cake – inside and out – as chocolate is Shaun’s favourite, plus it looked so delicious that they couldn’t possibly pass up on the chocolate mud cake with chocolate icing.

The cake tied in all the elements of the other suppliers, with Ria decorating the base of the cake with matching florals to the bouquets and then Gingerbread folk making the cake toppers of gingerbread with Liz and Shaun’s names on them.

The photographer selected by Liz and Shaun was Raoul Tackelburg, whose studio is in the Flourmill Studios, which is where Karen’s couture studio is and where Liz is based. Liz said, ‘He is such a lovely guy, and I loved the natural candid style of his photography.’ The other thing that helped the couple to decide on Raoul was that he had worked at weddings with the traditional Korean ceremony before. ‘ We knew he would be able to take good photos for that too. On the day, he captured some great moments, and because I knew him, we felt more comfortable as well.’

We are thrilled for Liz and Shaun and Liz will be deeply missed when she leaves to join Shaun in the UK, but we sincerely wish the couple a very happy, long and prosperous life together.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Liz and Shaun…

Today we have an extra special ‘Real Wedding’, another Karen Willis Holmes employee, Liz – who is Karen’s PA, married her sweetheart Shaun in July and is kindly sharing the story of their wedding with us, including their engagement party, the final fitting for Liz’s dress, and then the big day.

After Liz and Shaun met in high school and both took part in some innocent flirting, they parted ways without even so much as a date. However, after bumping into each other on the train a few years later, they started dating shortly after until Liz jetted off to France on exchange. While this would spell doom and gloom for most blossoming romances, Liz and Shaun powered through maintaining a long distance relationship, which was then the foundation of their five and a half years together.

With Shaun moving to the UK to study a PhD there were suspicions amongst friends, family, and the KWH team, that a proposal was looming. However when Shaun took Liz away to the Blue Mountains for a weekend, where even she was expecting a proposal, it wasn’t until they had returned home and Liz’s guard was down that he finally popped the question.

The Engagement Party

Keeping the whole experience intimate, Liz and Shaun had their engagement party on the 15th of May, 2010, at Chocolate kkomz restaurant in Eastwood, which is owned and operated by Liz’s parents.

With a number of friends and family coming from wide and far, the couple and their guests got to enjoy the delicious efforts of Liz’s parents with their huge feast, which was served buffet style and consisted of grilled oysters topped with cheese, king prawns, and also lots of  traditional Korean dishes.

Raoul, the couple’s photographer, was present at the event and was snapping away catching all the happiness of the event. One of Liz’s favourite shots was where Raoul snuck into the kitchen to capture all the action of Liz’s parents working away busily, and he took a photo of Liz’s mother mid sentence telling him to stop taking pictures of her. (Although she was saying it in Korean, so there was a good chance he didn’t know what was being said at all!)

At the end of the evening, Liz and Shaun dragged her parents out of the kitchen to thank them for all their hard work and effort presenting them with gifts as a token of their appreciation.

The Final Fitting…

We know that this is one of the most exciting times for a bride, when they are seeing the finishing touches being put to their gown and it all becomes a reality, instead of just a dream.

Liz had her final fitting at the Karen Willis Holmes couture studio with Karen and then her own little judging panel, which consisted of her Mum and sister, and two of her bridesmaids.

We love how Raoul has captured the happy moment and the excitement in these photos.

Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post of Liz’s wedding day!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Body shapes – how to choose the best gown for you.

Today’s post – Petite

We wrap up our body shapes feature with the “Petite” body shape…

Women with a “Petite” shape body are exactly as the title says – petite! Shorter in stature, with a smaller frame, “Petite” shapes are generally slim with slight curves.

“Petite” body shapes should focus on gowns that elongate their legs and don’t swamp their tiny frame.

Our favourite “Petite” celebrities are the glamorous Eva Longoria, the radiant Natalie Portman and the dazzling Reese Witherspoon.

These “Petite” shaped celebrities have chosen gowns that flatter their bodies perfectly. Eva Longoria with her beautiful olive toned skin, has chosen a peach-hued, floaty gown, which is fitted in the bodice with a high waist to create a longer look through the leg. Lovely Natalie Portman opts for a fantastic hot pink number, with a draped fitted gown, in a slim line that shows off her tiny waist. Gorgeous Reese Witherspoon amazes us with her choice – a fitted shape with layers of gradating colour, the lightness of colour on the bottom of the gown draws our eye down and creates the illusion that she is much taller.  

Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon

Do you have a “Petite” figure? Check out our hand-picked choices below to show off your slight body shape.

Karen Willis Holmes Alyssa and Estelle gowns (L-R)

For a flirty feminine look, ‘Alyssa’ is the perfect choice. Sporting a sweetheart-neckline made with layers of organza, which flow in towards the centre of the gown, this feature works to draw the eye in and up, elongating your figure. Accessorise with a diamante belt like we have as it cinches in the waist amongst the layers of fabric, making your legs look longer, as well as adding some sparkle to the gown. 

If you love a sexy, sophisticated look, ‘Estelle’ is the dress for you! With a strapless, fitted, corset bodice with shaped bra cups, lace and ribbon detailing, it has a sultry lingerie feel. The inverted v-shaped hip line lengthens your legs, with a full tulle skirt to create a softer, pretty look. Finished with a ribbon tied around the waist, the ‘Estelle’ gown is flattering and gorgeous.  

‘Alyssa’ and ‘Estelle’ are just two examples of possible gowns you could wear with a “Petite” body shape. Adorned with lots of features and detail to flatter your shape as well as elongate it, it is a hard decision which of these you would choose!

This is our last body shapes post. We hope all the information we have given on different body shapes has been helpful and that you have loved the gowns we featured. 
If you have any other questions about any of the gowns, or need some help in finding the right gown for you, please do not hesitate to ask us. You can email us, call us or pop into one of our ready to wear stores to speak to the sales assistants. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peep Toe Shoes…

Looking for a fabulous bridal shoe to complete your look for your wedding day? Why not head in and see the girls at Peep Toe Shoes. With an extensive collection of shoes, both bridal and every-day, you are guaranteed to find the perfect shoe for you.

They carry a variety of beautiful bridal shoes in the form of…

Why not try a splash of colour with…

Or opt for the comfort of a pretty flat or stylish wedge for the day…

Whether you want a high-heel, low-heel, satin, patent, suede, bright and bold, sleek and sophisticated or understated and nude, there is something for everybody at Peep Toe Shoes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wedding Style Guide - Spring 2010

The Wedding Style Guide has released its Spring 2010 Issue and we at Karen Willis Holmes are loving the inspiration and ideas they have given us.

In this issue, Annabelle and the team have put together: “Hello Yellow” (page 116), which shows you how to celebrate romance in the most joyous of shades with plenty of fashion, décor and stationery ideas.
The flower theme is continued in their “Bloom Bloom” story (page 82) of floral detailing that brings just the right amount of ‘pretty’ to contemporary wedding style.

The Wedding Style Guide also has a great “Runway Wrap Up” (page 44) about the key bridal trends of the moment.  Experimenting with muted neutral and pastel tones adds instant personality and individuality to a gown.  With spring it’s all about ‘Flower Power’ with flower detailing, lace and floral embellishments adorning beautiful dresses.  Another trend is the strapless silhouette exploring knots, ruffles and embellishments to update this classic and popular option.

We love to read and see pictures of Real Life Weddings and in this issue we are lucky enough to have two brides featured wearing our Karen Willis Holmes gowns.

Claudine and Dominic

The imminent rain clouds didn’t damper Claudine and Dominic’s plans for celebrating. 
After an afternoon ceremony at Terrara House Estate the couple had a wonderful marquee reception on this amazing country property.
“The combination of family and friends really made for a spectacular night – there was so much love all around us”.

Claudine was picture perfect in our ready to wear ‘Veronique’ gown featuring a delicate French Chantilly lace bodice and full tulle skirt accented with a pink ribbon at the waist.  Her three bridesmaids complemented the atmosphere and picturesque location in organic sherbet shade dresses.

Margaret and Piotr

For Margaret and Piotr, they wanted to express the love for each other, family and friends in all aspects of their wedding, leading them to choose neutral colours and lots of elegant and simple styling components.

Margaret looked stunning in our ready to wear ‘Heidi’ Gown featuring a corded French lace bodice and georgette skirt to reflect the bride’s classic elegant ideas of the wedding.

The couple’s intimate ceremony was held at Patrick’s Catholic Church in Pomona and included 33 guests.  Margaret comments that “the reception was full of love, laughs, smiles, good food, wine and dancing,” and we can’t think of a better assessment of a fantastic wedding than that.

Grab your copy of Wedding Style Guide and see all the inspirations, ideas and tips to make your day special and memorable.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gown in Focus… Sophia

With its high waisted skirt, sweetheart neckline and delicate lace detail the ‘Sophia’ gown creates the perfect modern take, on a lovely vintage look.

The bodice has boning to create structure and shape, as well as offer support for the bust, finished with a sweetheart neckline that softens the shoulders. 

The high-waisted, full tulle skirt cinches and emphasises the waist, while the fullness of the circle skirt hides the hips and focuses on flattering the waist and bodice.

The glimmer tulle ruched down the front of the bodice helps to draw the eye to the waist. Along the bustline and down the bodice is sweet French Chantilly lace, mixed with corded lace to create texture, while adding a touch of feminine detail that really catches the eye.

 Layers of glimmer tulle teamed with matte, ivory tulle create a dazzlingly soft shimmering look. Finished with a satin, buckled belt, or a diamante belt*, this is perfect for accentuating the waist.

Like the 'Rebecca' gown we featured in our last 'Gown in Focus' post, a strapless gown, can help to showcase beautifully soft shoulders and decolletage.  However, for brides who are not keen on strapless gowns, the off-the-shoulder tulle piece is perfect.  Sitting just off the shoulders, it adds to the stunning vintage feel of 'Sophia', while tying in nicely with the tulle in the skirt.

'Sophia', complete with its high waisted full tulle skirt, fitted bodice complete with gorgeous lae detail and a sweetheart neckline, has all the elemtns that work to create a perfect take on modern-vintage with a little bit of fairytale princess.

*Extra costs may be associated with this work, please speak to our staff for more information.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bride to Be Magazine - August/October 2010 Issue

At Karen Willis Holmes we love getting our hands on the latest bridal magazines, overflowing with inspiration and also a great place for brides to get ample information and advice that is beneficial in their planning process.

Bride to Be has released their August-October 2010 issue, the last with the lovely Amelia Bloomfield as editor.  (Congrats on your engagement Amelia!! We agree that being editor of a Bridal Magazine would have definitely increased the pressure for your partner!) 
The issue is blooming with fashion, accessories, inspiration and beauty to satisfy your craving for all things bridal.

One of our favourite pieces in this issue is the real weddings feature, which Bride to Be claim is their biggest! In “Biggest Real-Life Weddings Issue Ever” we love seeing the variety of all the real weddings and the unique features and twists people come up with to make their day memorable.

One of our real brides was featured in “Boating Party” on page 118.  Diana chose our ‘Roberta’ gown, a fitted corset bodice with a three-tiered ruffle at the bottom of the skirt, saying that she “wanted something that was timeless but still contemporary”.

We are always flattered to have our Karen Willis Holmes gowns featured in the magazine. Our stunning couture gown - ’Sophia’ and our ready to wear gown ‘Poppy’ are featured in the “Bride to Be Work Book”, focusing on ruffle and tulle trends for bridal gowns. The ‘Sophia’ gown provides real wow-factor for your special day, while our ready-to-wear option, ‘Poppy’, is a modern interpretation of a bridal gown with its column silhouette and ruffle detail, finished with a silver sash.

In the fashion editorial “Country Charm”, shot on location in beautiful Launceston, our ‘Angelica’ couture gown with 3D floral detailing on the bodice looks stunning, surrounded by delicate paper flowers creating a sweet country twist.

We are also intrigued by the “Love Notes” article featuring an array of perfumes perfect for your special day. A Bride to Be survey shows that 78 percent of brides buy a new fragrance especially to wear on their big day to help them remember it! Follow Bride to Be’s advice and choose a luscious new scent, or opt for a personalised custom scent for something truly special.

With the last remnants of Winter being chased away by the gorgeous sunshine, now is the perfect time to pick up Bride to Be’s latest issue, and start getting excited for Spring!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Real Weddings… Matt and Mel

The story of Mel and Matt is no ordinary school-yard romance. The couple first met when they were both working as teachers at the same high school. While there was an instant attraction between the couple, it took seven years for them to finally take their relationship to a romantic level.

After a two-year courtship, the couple were holidaying in Melbourne with friends to take in the 2010 Australian Open, when Matt arranged a very special birthday surprise for Mel. After sending her out shopping for a new dress, Matt put together a magical night to remember. Kicking off with a surprise twilight seafood dinner at ‘Live Bait’ Restaurant in Docklands, the couple enjoyed a beautiful meal and Matt presented Mel with a special book containing post-it notes strategically placed throughout stating the ’10 Things I DON’T Hate About You’. Once the meal was complete, Matt rushed Mel to the 88th floor of Eureka Towers, which has the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere, and took her out into ‘The Edge’, which is a glass cub platform, which extends three metres out from the building. Mel said by the time she had recovered from the height and turned to Matt, he was down on one knee asking her to be his wife.

The couple then put together their dream wedding in just a matter of months, with their big day falling on the 8th of May 2010. The reason the couple pushed forward with their plans was that with so many family members overseas, this was the one time where they could everyone in one place to share in their special day.
St Stephens Anglican Church in Newtown played host to the ceremony, with Mel explaining the venue choice coming down to “the beautiful neo-gothic stone architecture, and surrounding of Camperdown Cemetery” – we have had a few of our brides opt for this venue and agree that it is a beautiful choice.
The reception took place at The Loft, Doltone House in Pyrmont. Again, the architecture, teamed with the view captured the couple’s attention. “We loved the exposed timber beams the polished wooden floorboards and the amazing view” said Mel.

Mel prefers a more understated, elegant look, which is what made her decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes. After trying on a few gowns she brought her Mum back in for a second opinion and opted for the for the ‘Roberta’ gown (without the ruffles on the skirt) teamed with the ‘Adele Shoulder Corsage’ and ‘Adele train’ after her Mum cried seeing her in the gown – she knew it was the one.
Mel said the bustle train and detailed handmade shoulder piece were the highlights of her gown, making it unique and completely her own.

Mel finished her gown with rose gold earrings and Witchery ballet flats which she then embellished herself, to match her earrings.

Keeping the theme elegant and fresh, the couple opted for colours of ivory, taupe, aqua and rose-gold. Mel showed her creativity and kept the planning of her wedding personal by even designing and creating their invitations, with the help of her friend.

The couple enjoyed the company of a large bridal party, each having a combination of relatives and friends as their six bridesmaids and six groomsmen.  

Mel and her business partner made her bridesmaids outfits, with Mel taking care of the tops and her partner the skirts (www.silkpin.com.au). Each of the bridesmaids also had individual bags to match their outfits, along with individually made hair-pieces.

Engaging in the services of Erin Halle as a florist, who was recommended by a friend, Mel and Matt were thrilled with the creativity used in the arrangements and how they complimented the colour scheme for the day.

Michelle Fiona was the photographer for the day Mel said, “Michelle is a friend with an amazing talent! She is a fantastic photographer; Beautiful, elegant, non-intrusive, friendly, flexible, fun, captures the moments between the moments, amazing!” (www.michellefionaphotography.com.au

The couple shared their first dance as husband and wife, which Mel described as “A magically sweet moment of slow dancing to ‘Magic’ by Colbie Caillat with all our guests watching on from the second floor of The Loft.”

The other key elements that made Matt and Mel’s day so perfect included their close friend, Paul Johnston, acting as MC keeping the day personal. Also, the beautiful cake from The Cake Studio was finished with a small rosette on the top that Mel made to match the bridesmaid outfits, again giving the whole wedding the personal touch of the couple.
Mel has kindly shared her five great memories for the day, which do sound absolutely beautiful and help us to get the real feeling for the magic of Matt and Mel’s wedding day.

“The sight of amazing sunshine and cloudless blue sky (despite forecasts of rain)”

“The smell of Matts cologne.”

“The sound of the words ‘I DO’”

“Having all our family and friends there to share in the day with us and so many of them involved in making the day great”

“Sitting on a picnic rug with our bridal party at Observatory Hill sipping on champagne and breathing the whole day in.”